Monday, April 27, 2009

All My Homes

To be fair to you readers, this is one of those posts you may find boring. It's one of my posts I'm doing as a personal record. You may want to move on to something more interesting. Plus it will be really long.
On Saturday My Sweetie remarked that he had now lived in this house longer than any other house, and I realized that I, too have lived here longer than any other house. That got me thinking about all my homes. I had to call Mom to try to get some dates straight but with the exception of my very first home, I was actually informing her. She really doesn't think at all like I do.
Birth to either 1 or 2:
This is the only house I have no memory of, but my brother pointed it out to me several times. I will call this house: The house near Granny's old house on hwy. 117 near the old feed store. Although I have no memory of this house there is a funny family story from this house. When my brother was 4, he woke up very early one Saturday morning and took a nickle or dime to the feed store. When my parents woke up, they found my brother standing in front of the TV (one of the old boxy ones with feet) playing with a baby chick on top of the TV. Apparently the feed store owner thought it was perfectly fine to sell a baby chick to a 4-year-old at sunrise on a Saturday morning. Dad took it back.
1 or 2 to 4:
This is the house on the corner in a neighborhood Mom calls Pine Valley and she never watched "All My Children" so maybe she is not making this up. I call this house, "the house behind the Downtowner Motor Inn" because that was what was on hwy. 70 in front of the neighborhood. This is the house of my awakenings as a human being and I have a lot of memories from this house. This was the house where I spent a Christmas eve fervently praying for a magic wand for Christmas. I didn't get one and was very disappointed. This was also the neighborhood that I wandered all over and once got run over by my brother on a bicycle. It's also the neighborhood where I learned my first important thing. My brother and I found a big green plastic dinosaur in a ditch near our house and thought it was the best thing ever. When Dad got home from work he told us a tale of a kid leaving their dinosaur in the ditch while playing and going back the next day to retieve it and not finding it and how sad they would be. It was my very first lesson in empathy and it stayed with me forever.
4 to 9:
This was my childhood coming of age house where I had so many adventures (and pictured above). This is also the first house that I could actually draw a floor plan of. Our address on our mailbox was: Route 7 Box 279. Our dirt road did not have a street name but there was a sign up on hwy. 117 that said "dead end road" so I think of this as "the house on dead end road." This was the house with the hog pen in the back and woods all around. The woods had all sorts of great things. There was a whole section of mounds with perfectly dug out round craters which my brother always told me were foxholes from the civil war. I have no idea if this was true, but it makes as much sense as anything else. This is also where we played all the yard games. Our yard was the neighborhood site for hide-and-seek, ain't no bears out tonight, one-two-three redlight, mother may I?, kickball, football, and freezetag. This was also the house in which my brother discovered the box of Playboy magazines and I read the word "lesbian" in a true crime magazine I found in my parents' room. I also remember reading something like "her body was found in the woods by the lake" in one of those magazines and I thought the woman's head, legs and arms had been cut off because for some reason I thought "body" meant "torso." And we had lots of frogs in the summer as well as fireflies, which we called "lightning bugs." We were always out catching lightning bugs on summer nights. I also remember being home sick from school by myself one day and there was to be a solar eclipse and I was told over and over not to open the curtains or look outside that day. So I did.
9 to 12:
I really loved this house and thought it was a palace! It had an extra bathroom, or I should say toilet room because it was just a commode and a sink, but wow! I also got my first very own bedroom and it had two living areas. But what I mostly loved was the location and the brick. We had always had to walk to school and to walk to the store. This house was right across the street from the store and what seemed like a hundred times closer to the school. And it had multicolored brick which I thought was very fancy after living in a plain red brick house. Oh and the storage shed in the corner of the backyard. Our parents let us have that as our "clubhouse" and although we initially fought over it, my brother was getting older and quickly moved on to things and places not related to our house. I had a blast in that place. This is also the house where I met the funnest best friend I ever had. This was also the house from which we left town.
Dad worked at the tobacco company downtown, and one of his former co-workers had gone to work selling insurance and was doing very well. He talked Dad into going in for an interview. Dad was working nights at the time so we got to see a lot of each other in the summer of 1973. This was the same year that we had had the great family trip to Dominican Republic in April because of his job, so I can imagine now that all sorts of things were going on in his head. I remember walking into the living room one morning and asking, "So do you think you're going to get that new job?" He was bent over polishing his boots. He wore those 70's zippered boots back then and was always polishing them, and he said in a very dejected voice, a voice I had never heard come out of this man, a man I always thought was Superman, "I doubt it. I'm too old." He was 37. I guess you have to be born in 1936 to think you are too old for something at 37. Anyway, a month or so and a few more interviews later, he found out he got the job, but that there were no spots open in our town. He was given a few choices and I forgot to ask Mom what they were (which is fine because she probably wouldn't remember) but he picked Durham.
12 to 15:
Old Farm. Carriage House Apartments. I'll never forget that first drive to Durham to see our new "house." We were actually going to live in an apartment, and people on TV and in the movies lived in apartments. I was so excited. Mary Tyler Moore lived in an apartment! The trip started out dull because we were taking the same roads we had taken a million times to visit my grandmother, aunt and cousins in Raleigh but when we finally went past that turn off and were heading into unknown territory, I got really excited and started looking around. This was just a day trip to see the place, but I couldn't wait. The apratment was brand new and not quite finished but it was TWO STORIES! HAD CARPET! CENTRAL AIR! I thought I was a fairy tale princess. No more hardwood floors for me or hot summers. And it had TWO and a half bathrooms. WOW.
We moved in at the very beginning of December 1973. 10 days later I started my period. It was all a sign of BIG CHANGE. It was weird being at such a huge school, and it was also two stories tall. I loved everything. Our family started doing all sorts of new stuff like camping, river-rafting and we even bought a boat. Then my parents split up. But that was good.
Transition at 15:
I lived with my boyfriend's family for about two weeks. Mom had left and Dad was getting moved out and stuff and Mrs. Y. who was very momly took me in. It saved her a long drive to go pick me up for bowling and play rehearsals which she had been doing anyway.
15 to almost 18:
Barcelona Apartments with Dad. In the less than three years that I lived there permanently it went from a quasi-family apartment to party bar central. I mean the age was 15 to 18 and it was 1976 to 1979. I really don't want to say much else. Use your imagination and fill in the blanks.
Almost 18 to HS Graduation:
I moved to Texas to live with Mom and Stepdad and I already posted about it.
Summer of 18:
Dad's apartment. Took lots of beach trips.
18 (September) to 19 (June):
UNC-G colllege dorm room of fun and crazy.
19 (summer to September):
Back at Mom's working as groundskeeper at country club.
19 (September) to 20 (May):
Lived with Dad and stepmom.
20 (May to early July):
Lived with Duke student boyfriend while he finished classes in apartments I forgot the name of. Spent most of my time at the pool.
20 to 21:
Lived with Mom again, went back to school.
21 to 22:
My first apartment on Campus Drive. I really loved that apartment. Probably because it was my first apartment, even though I shared it with Randy. I had landed a plum job doing "local production" for a cable company. I had to run educational tapes from the office and fill out FCC forms as well as do local productions ranging from filming (taping actually) community football and baseball games, city council and chamber of commerce meetings and other random stuff. Randy was a cable guy. We dated a few times, both lived with our parents and both had long drives to work. It seemed a good match for sharing an apartment and living closer to work and that worked for me me but he was all "in love." When my brother left his first wife in California and came to stay with us we all decided to move to a bigger apartment when the lease was up, and then I met my future first husband, and my brother and I had to tell Randy to get his own place.
22- (not quite) 23:
My brother and I get an apartment in Arlington. My high school friend J. is the manager. We are on the second floor with a balcony over the pool. Everything seems hunky-dory. But it is not. Future first husband pretty much moves in. He and my brother clash and clash. I get pregnant. Brother sneak moves out, FFH gets a job that is quite a distance away.
(not quite) 23, about 6 months:
The lovely Carrollton apartment. The laws back then were different and there were a lot of "Adults Only" apartments in Dallas and it took me FOREVER to find an apartment. But I got lucky and this was a second story apartment over a creek that had ducks. It was a nice place to be pregnant. And that's all I was there because First Husband decided he really wanted to be in a house and got an opportunity to rent a house from his cousin and moved us into the house while I was in the hospital having a baby. If you think it's maybe stress ful having your first baby, try leaving the hospital and going to a new place where most of your stuff is in boxes. The good part of that, because that's how I view life, was Mom stepped up in a BIG WAY. She was awesome.
23 to 24 1/2:
This house that we rented from my first husband's cousin was a post-war bungalow by Love Field in Dallas but was in pristine shape. The cousin was a fireman that bought and refinished houses to rent, but this house he had refinished for his mother to live in. They decided she was unable to live unassisted and that's how we got the house. Although the house was old and tiny, the bathroom and kitchen were brand new. And the backyard was HUGE. Then of course, th husband realized paying rent was stupid and wanted to buy a house.
24 1/2 to 27:
We bought a strange little house in a strange little neighborhood. It had hardwood floors, so it was like a return to my roots in some ways. That's the house I painted the Bambi wall on. (Okay I was going to link to that but I can't find it.) Anyway, I became pretty depressed there and found happiness with future husband #2.
27 to not quite 28:
In June of my 27th year, I moved in with future second husband in his rental home in Summerfields which is the area where I now deliver MOW. We got married in November and bought a house in February.
Almost 28 to 34:
This was an old 1950's house with hardwood floors and a pool. It was nice and big and the rooms were spacious and the yard was huge. We had lots of dinner parties and pool parties and I was so busy taking my dance classes, going to school and working and then finally found a fun dream job and met My Sweetie. And I had set my first record here for lngest place lived.
I lived in almost 5 places this year. When I first left my husband, I moved into a friend's apartment until her friend came down from Minnesota to sublease and then I moved in with a guy friend from work for a few weeks until my apartment was ready and then My Sweetie and I rented the cracked house. I moved out of the apartment because I was checking my mail one day and gunshots were fired near me. That's not good.
Almost 35 to 37:
The Cracked House. People always think we are saying "The Crack House" but we are saying "The Cracked House" because this rental house had the worst foundation problems ever. It had rolling hills. Inside. And there had been a lot of "work done." By drunk monkeys on crack. But it was right across the street from my daughter's school and it had three bathrooms. And it was cheap.
37 to 40:
The tiny apartment. After living in the giant sprawling cracked house, the tiny apartment was a blessing and a curse. The blessing part was it was all brand spanking new and nice and fresh and straight and even. The curse was it was tiny. It was all so new the row behind me was still under construction and I'd be watching TV during the day trying not to notice all the construction guys way up in the air and freaking out that I'd see one fall to his death. Plus that's where I lived when Dad died. Enough said.
40 to hopefully forever or until we can retire at the beach:
My Sweetie and I got married after living together for 5 years and decided to go house-hunting. We had found one house on this street and liked it a lot but were too late with our offer. A few weeks later when this house became available, we saw it and made an offer. I like it here and am still happy after almost 8 years. This is my record. And this is my record.


xup said...

That was really interesting. A short life story via real estate. So many intriguing snippets that I would make full length stories all on their own. I'm not going to do a list all the places I've ever lived. I'd die of old age before I ever finished it.

geewits said...

~~I felt like I was dying of old age while I was writing it.

Jammie J. said...

First of all, one of the things I love most about you is that you always try to find the "good thing about that"... I don't always view life that way, so you inspire me with that.

Second thing, holy flashlight in a dark room, but you have lived in a lot of places.

Your "body in the woods" part (thinking it was a torso cracked me up for some reason. Not to be confused with your Cracked House. :)

Very interesting. So you would say that the house you live in now is your favorite house? You've done enough work to it for it to be... :)

geewits said...

~~That seeing the positive side of things is not something I even work at - it's inherent and I can't help myself.

As for the moving about, that was just one on the long list of things My Sweetie and I had in common.

Body, torso, what's the difference? :)

This is definitely my favorite house. Which is good since I've been here so long.

Scarlet said...

Interesting post! It's funny how you thought of Mary Tyler Moore and other TV people when moving into an apartment. :) Cute, actually.

PS - I'd love to see the Bambi wall!

Jocelyn said...

I love this kind of post and getting this overview of your life. The year you lived five places could end up being a slew of posts itself!

Carole said...

Gee, my brother brought home a couple of baby chicks from the pet store too, only at Easter time, and I think they were 10 cents each. My brother was only about 10 yrs. old at the time. We only had the chicks for a week or two, then he had to give them away. Not sure who he gave them to. They started to get big fast!

I loved the lesson on empathy that your dad taught you, and all with a green plastic dinosaur!

You have so many treasures in your past. I think that you keep them close to your heart is partly what makes you so special.

geewits said...

~~I'll have to find the original pic of the Bambi wall because the scan got eaten when the old computer died.

~~It was a pretty hectic summer. I'm not sure I'd enjoy reliving it. I can tell you however that the guy friend from work's house was haunted and creepy.

~~Or maybe it's just what makes me so weird?

Her Sweetie said...

Here's how bad the foundation was at the Cracked House - if you laid on the floor in the living room and looked across it to the dining room, you could see the curvature of the Earth. Every spring we were invaded by hordes of bugs which poured in through the cracks between the walls and the slab. Yuck.

Lo said...

I wonder if I could figure all that out about my life....?